Why should you attend tomorrow evening’s Raising Teens event?  You may have seen this piece in the SMH on the weekend.

The thesis of the article is that “Single sex schooling is capturing attention because of how frequently young women have cited these schools as hothouses for sexual predation, and for what this might tell us about the attitudes of adolescent males and females to themselves and each other in Australia”

The SMH said that one school Principal, took aim at parents who allowed their underage children to hold unsupervised – and often drunken – parties. “I can think of fewer more dangerous, unhelpful and foolish things that a parent could do than to provide a party of the sort described. These parties cause heartbreaking and life-breaking damage.”

Another is quoted as saying that adolescents face “rapidly changing contours”. “Easily available alcohol, illicit drugs, lack of supervision at parties and other social events, the premature sexualisation and objectification of girls and boys, precocious consumerism and perhaps, most pernicious and undermining of all, readily accessible pornography, which displaces love and distorts impressionable views of relationships, respect for others and self-worth.”

What surprises me most about this whole topic though is that any one is surprised.

Please don’t think I’m not appalled at the damage caused, not angered by the objectification of women or that I am resigned to accepting the behaviour as somehow normal.

But, isn’t it the inevitable result of the dominant worldview in our society here in the west?

After all, let’s just be rational for a moment.

If there is no cosmic order, if there is nothing special about humanness, if there is no truth or moral absolutes then, logically, each person should be free to do their own thing and do as they see fit without being criticised for their values and behaviour.

But still I hear you say, how does it get to this?  Where has the parenting gone so wrong in showing them what is ‘right’ and ‘wrong’?

I’d suggest that a child may be raised “well” – to value their family, to respect themselves and their parents, to act kindly to others, to share what is theirs, to take responsibility for their actions, to look after their health etc.

If they are, they are on the way to becoming the young person their parents are hoping for and who they would be proud of.

But immerse an emerging adolescent in the worldview I’ve described above, and in the view of freedom I’ve described above; that is, immerse a risk-seeking, approval seeking, materially comfortable, hormone filled, middle class emerging adolescent with unfetted access to the internet, in the “belief system” I’ve described, then you have the conditions ripe for self-destruction.

Surely that is obvious.

My point here is not to be sensationalist or defeatist, but to describe reality and so explain why we have David and Katie Kobler here to work with our Year 8-12 students, staff and parents.

Firstly, at Charlton, we believe God ordains parents as raisers of children and we very much want to actively support and parents in this role. We do this by the strong and close connection between teachers and parents, through resources in well-being and pastoral care through PC teachers, Stage leaders, Counselling, Chaplaincy, Learning Support and parent events like this.

Secondly, when things go wrong for kids, we see and we wear the impact – on learning, behaviour, peer relationships and student-staff relationships, and on school culture. So its in our interests to actively support the broader well-being of students and families.

David, with his wife Katie, are a husband and wife couple who are one of the leading youth speakers across Australia and New Zealand and specialise around the topics of sexuality and relationships. They have spoken to over 250,000 teens, parents, and teachers in live audiences and have a mission to turn taboo topics into everyday conversations.

David has a Bachelor in Theology and Katie has an advanced diploma in Psychological Science.

They have been featured in print, radio, and TV media, and are highly sought after communicators. With countless stories of teen struggles and challenges on the topics of sex, pornography, social media and sexting, they hope to bring light to the challenges that young people are facing.

Their hope is to create an environment where parents feel empowered to talk to their children and children feel confident to talk to their parents about topics that really matter.”

We hope you can make it tomorrow evening. Bookings are essential via our website.

Mr Mark Ash / Principal